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West Belfast celebrates A- Level results

By Ciara Quinn

STUDENTS from West Belfast were among thousands celebrating their A-Level results last week.

It was a nervous wait for all. Some did better than expected, while for those who didn’t do as well as they’d hoped, there was plenty of advice at hand.

Students from St Rose’s Dominican College told us how they had worked extremely hard to achieve their excellent results.

Jade McKnight received three A grades in History, English Literature and Politics. “I am just so pleased and I’m off to study History and English at Queen’s,” she said.

Danielle McNerney was also celebrating. “I got an A* in Business Studies, an A in Drama and a B in English Literature. I’m off to Jordanstown in September and just can’t wait.”

“I got an A* in Business Studies, an A in English Literature and  a B in History,” said an over-the-moon Niamh McCloskey. “I’m going to university in Liverpool and I can’t wait to experience university life.”

St Louise’s College celebrated yet another outstanding set of A-Level results. Pupil Mary O’Loan excelled, achieving 3 A* grades. She is set to study American Theatre Art in colleges in London and the US.

Joanne Russell is heading to Queen’s University Belfast to read Film Studies while Eimear Smyth is travelling to the Newcastle College of Performing Arts to study Contemporary Dance. Joanne achieved an A*, A and C and Eimear secured an A and two Bs.

Katie McGonigle, who achieved four top A-Level grades in Politics, Sociology, English Literature and History, is transferring to the University of Ulster Jordanstown to study Law, while Caoimhe Stewart, with an A and two Bs, is off to the University of Ulster Jordanstown to study ICT.

Other students we met who did very well were Aimee McDonagh with her A* and two Bs, who’s moving on to Queen’s University to study Psychology, while Marguerite McPeake with two As and a B and Sarah McKavanagh with a B and two Cs are going to the  University of Ulster Jordanstown to study Economics.

Caoimhe Taylor, Rachel McGarry, and Rebecca Morris, who all achieved fantastic grades, are hoping to go to St Mary’s University College to pursue a career in teaching.

Delighted St Louise’s Principal, Carmel  McCartan, was keen to stress that a huge amount of hard work had been put into preparing for these  wonderful A-Level results by both pupils and staff.

“This is an absolutely superb set of results and clearly represents the tremendous effort and commitment put in by our students and staff over the past two years,” she said. “I congratulate the students on their marvellous achievements and wish them all the very best as they move on to university or into employment.

“It is wonderful to think that St Louise’s students will be embarking on courses which will empower them to enter a wide variety of ambitious careers.”

Mrs McCartan added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank students, parents and staff for all their efforts and wish all our students the very best for the future.”

There was also an air of jubilation and celebration at  St Dominic’s Grammar School for girls after Year 14 students opened their A-Level results. In 2011, St Dominic’s was the highest performing grammar school in Belfast and the results are even better this year with an overwhelming 91 per cent of the students achieving three or more A* – C grades. There was also a 33 per cent increase in the number of students achieving all A grades – 30 girls in total.

Aoife Ní Chiaráin achieved 4 A*/A grades and said: “I’m absolutely delighted with my results and that the hard work has paid off. I am sad to be leaving St Dominic’s but looking forward to going to university in Galway.”

Anita Magee echoed those  sentiments on learning of her 3A*/A grades. “I’m so delighted,” she said. “I didn’t sleep last night with worry but I am proud to say that I am off to Cambridge University to read Education with English and Drama.”

St Dominic’s Principal Carol McCann praised the efforts of students, teachers and parents in bringing about more outstanding successes. “Yet again, St  Dominic’s has shown that we are at the very forefront of education. St Dominic’s students and their parents should be extremely proud of their achievements. The girls’  performance surpassed all expectations – 46 per cent of the entries were at A*/A grade, well above the NI average of 31.9 per cent.  97 per cent of the results were at A* – C grade, again well above the NI average of 83 per cent. An outstanding 83 per cent of  A-Levels achieved were at A*/B level.

“I would like to pay tribute to each and every one of our students and take this opportunity to say how extremely proud of and pleased for them I am. They took advantage of after-school classes and study and have reaped the rewards of the dedication and commitment they showed throughout their time in St Dominic’s. I am delighted to see an improvement upon the fantastic success of last year, but, of course, this would not have been possible without the ceaseless commitment and dedication of our teachers. The staff always go above and beyond the call of duty when helping our girls.

“We appreciate the support of parents, who work in partnership with the school to further enable the girls to achieve their full potential. At a time when young people receive so much adverse publicity it is heart-warming and inspiring to see young women achieve so highly and prepare to take their place in today’s ever-changing society.

“I wish them luck and happiness wherever their future paths may take them.”

For the fourth successive year, St Mary’s Christian Brothers’ Grammar School improved its A-Level pass rate, with 70 per cent of students achieving three Grades at A* – C or equivalent.

Ryan Smyth was the top student, achieving a remarkable two A*s and two A grades. Conor Rainey achieved an outstanding four A grades while Fiontan ó Muilleoir claimed an A*, two As and a B.

Naoise ó Cairealláin, David Nelson and Christopher McGuigan all achieved an A* and two A grades and a further two pupils excelled by recording straight A grades – Colm McKeown and Niall McCann.

A 100 per cent pass rate at grades A* to C was achieved by students in Drama, Irish, Music and Technology and in the Diploma in Sport. Art & Design, Applied Business, Business, Geography, Politics and Diploma in Finance were also very successful subjects, all achieving pass rates of over 90 per cent at grades A* – C.

Delighted St Mary’s Principal Jim Sheerin expressed his pride in the success of the pupils and their teachers. “The overwhelming part of the credit for our success must go to the students themselves. They know how much they need top grades in order to fulfil their aspirations – aspirations and ambitions which are fully justified, given their ability, yet demand an enormous amount of dedication to achieve.

“At A-Level our candidates were chasing university places in the most competitive year ever. It doesn’t detract at all from the praise due to students for me to pay tribute to the fantastic teaching they have received.

“It is a hallmark of our students and teachers alike that they combine hard work, sheer slog, with inspiration; application with talent; thoroughness with originality. Finally, thanks to their families for the wonderful support and commitment.”

Over at De La Salle College, there were many happy staff and students as the college recorded another highly successful academic year. Michael Kennedy, Director of Sixth Form Studies, was delighted with the class of 2012’s performances

“De La Salle has enjoyed its most successful A-Level results ever, with a pass rate of 99 per cent.This is a great reflection of the hard work and commitment of the students, parents and teachers over the past seven years,” he said.

Over at Corpus Christi College, staff and pupils were also delighted with the school’s A-Level results.

Principal Frank Maskey said: “As Principal, I am delighted with, and very proud of, all of the Corpus Christi students and wish them every success for the future.”

CBS’s growing sixth-form celebrated yet another successful A-Level and BTEC results day. The school’s individual performances were outstanding, but it was the overall performance of the year group that has most pleased Principal Tom Armstrong as the pupils achieved the highest number of passes to date. This year the group has also had the highest number of girls passing through CBS and on to third-level education.

n For those students who might not have got the the results they were hoping for, or who have any queries in relation to their results, CCEA have a helpline operating from 9am to 5pm through until August 31 – call 90 261260. You can also search for answers in the Frequently Asked Questions section on the CCEA website  at www.rewarding and you can email your query to

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